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New BBQ in Wantagh - Tennessee Jed's

Not sure how long this place has been open...on Merrick Rd. There was another BBQ restaurant in the same location last year, but it didn't last very long as it wasn't very good.

Has anyone tried this yet? I'll try to get in there this week.

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  1. I was there on Friday July 4 after discovering that All American was closed. Although it was only one meal, two meats, I am not hopeful. First bad sign was that I didn't smell smoke and the second bad sign was that I was the only patron.The pulled pork was swimming in sauce and could have been any meat under all the sauce, might be good but nobody will ever know they way they serve it. My other meat was a 1/4 rack of baby backs. No smoke ring and a hard shell of sauce(?) on the underside. The bones pulled clean with a slight tug, perhaps shortcuts are being taken. Very little favor other then that of bbq sauce, certainly no smoke flavor. Collards were bitter, mac and cheese was small pasta in cheese soup that even by the end of the meal had not congealed. Corn bread was excellent. I feel bad for them, the owner was very nice.When I asked where he smokes the meat he showed me a box in the front that held no meat, so the meat is not being freshly cooked. His daughter was the only server and they were very interested in how I liked my meal but the food seems worse then Smokey Bones that failed in the same location so I'm not sure how they will survive. It was only one meal so maybe I didn't catch them at their best, we shall see. The place looks like a Loser but maybe they will reach The Promised Land.

    3 Replies
    1. re: stuartlafonda

      The only BBQ place outside of Manhatten I've ever had that I've been always pleased with is The Ranger in Jackson Heights. They keep it simple and smoke for long hours. I don't care for the overpriced showy/"authentic" BBQ places that just try to be something and overcharge you for everything.
      I was at that dismal Belmont BBQ fest last year and tried some of "L.I.'s finest BBQ" and aside from one spot they all were uneventful.

      Unfortunately, if you want stellar BBQ in NY, you gotta learn to do it yourself it seems unfortunately.

      1. re: dnm3k

        I agree about cooking it yourself if you want top quality 'Q. The care and time taken in preparing great BBQ is hard to replicate in the hectic setting of a restaurant. If you're talking about the Grill Kings competition at Belmont If memory serves it was 2 years ago. Were you able to sample any of the food from competitors or just what the vendors had to offer?

        1. re: dnm3k

          Ranger in JH was the real deal. They also opened a place on the Upper East Side. They both are no longer there. The JH location changed it's name to Legends. IMO not as good as the Ranger, BUT still much better than most LI places. On LI Smokin Al's would be my choice.

      2. Went there on Sunday . I thought the food was really good. It lacked smoke but overall tasted really good. It is better than a lot of other places on the Island that is for sure.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Beckster

          I so wanted to love this BBQ establishment, for many reasons,...mostly because it is within 3 blocks of my current residence. So on 7/12, I showed up for take-out lunch for two. I was greated by a most gracious and energetic young lady, who was genuinely helpfull. Then it happened....Two of the items my partner and I LOVE are Corn Bread ("It's still in the oven @ 1:15) and GOOD Collard Greens (we ran out last night!!!). Instead of following my heart, I ordered the three meat/two side combo ($28). The results? A large quantity of tasteless baby-back ribs (save for the charcoal-toasted bone ends), A fair amount of slightly fatty, but, again, tasteless, Brisket, The 3rd was pulled-chicken (a small serving was covered with an interesting BBQ sauce). The stringy sweet-potatoe fries lacked salt, texture, freshness, and, salt. Although the Mac n' Cheese used non-standard pasta, it actually was the meal's hit. I know how hard it is to make it in a new establishment, but the "normal operating" kinks should have been worked out after being open 10 days...stock should be plentiful, fries freshly fried (oh, and salted) and the BBQ should be SMOKEY. I sensed no dry-rub, smoking, or attention to flavor. Again, I wish them all the best, but until (and if) I try them again, I will drive the extra 13 miles to "Seconds BBQ" in Amityville. After take-out from Seconds, I am left happy, full, and stickey.

          1. re: AudioMat

            Seconds is OK but for the real deal go to Swingbellys in Long Beach

            1. re: Beckster

              What's swingbelly's all about?

              I'm fussy as all hell with my BBQ, even if I am a ny'er born and raised.

              1. re: dnm3k

                I ate at Swingbelly's once and thought it was good, but no match for places like Daisy May's and Rub.

        2. I stopped by Tennessee Jed's a few weeks ago and sadly I have to agree with what's been said so far. The food needs serious help, but the staff is very helpful and eager. I hope that they learn quickly and start producing true BBQ.

          The best BBQ on Long Island is clearly Swingbelly's and Willie B's. Seconds is hit or miss and is closer to soul food.

          There will be a NY State BBQ Championship in Sayville in the fall. 2nd year. Should be fun. www.bbqbattleli.com

          I heard that Fatty Beltbuckles reopened with a new chef. Has anyone been there yet?


          1. Check out Big Daddy's Cajun and BBQ restaurant off of Sunrise Highway in Massapequa. Authentic, slow cooked bbq of all sorts and fire cajun food. Not a bad local place to satisfy a BBQ craving. Don't miss the Hurricanes. Pretty darn close to Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans. Designated driver a must....

            1. My spouse and I just got back from an excellent meal at Tennessee Jed's. The St. Louis ribs were moist and as good as any I have had anywhere else. We smelled the smoke as we parked our car and tasted the smoky flavor in our ribs and chicken. The sides were adequate, not great, but you don't come to BBQ restaurants for sides.

              Maybe they just needed time to get their act together, since it is a new place.

              8 Replies
              1. re: orangemoose

                <sigh> I *so* wanted a positive review for this place--I hope that small businesses do well. But this is oangemoose's only post; dare I suspect...?

                1. re: Scott_R

                  As soon as I saw the word "EXCELLENT" that's exactly what I thought.
                  Me? I'll just stick with Legends in Jackson Heights.

                    1. re: Scott_R

                      Does Newsday ever give a bad review?

                      Anyone remember the name of the original restaurant at ths location - It was Italian - maybe three years ago? More importantly, the name of the chef/owner and where he is cooking now. When that place first opened it was awesome.

                      1. re: jmax

                        Finally went there and had a brisket sandwich.

                        Pretty good--one of the better briskets I've had. It was served sans sauce without my asking, which, IMHO, is perfect--I'm a minimalist when it comes to sauce. I tried little squirts of the sauces they had on the table; I'd say I liked the mustard sauce best, but then again, I think mustard is the king of condiments. If I had one quibble, it's that I prefer brisket sliced thicker, but that's a personal thing.

                        I almost ordered a side and asked them to hold the chips the sandwich comes with: fried foods aren't really my thing, but the chips were worth it. Salty enough that my cardiologist would have scolded me, but hey, they're potato chips.

                        1. re: jmax


                          Here's a link to the site that includes names and faces of the owner/operators.

                          Quick Google with their names was fruitless, but other hounds might know more with a direct question titled post.

                          1. re: kelvin8r

                            That was the previous owner when the place was called smokeys. New owner has no affiliation with them what they told me

                    2. re: Scott_R

                      Same issue with the new ones, too.

                  1. Delicious BBQ, very friendly and helpful staff and fabulous food. We had the baby back ribs and the st. louis ribs----Ymmm. excellent portion size, yummy buffalo-styled chicken wings, cornbread and sweet potato fries. What's really nice is they have diferent types of BBQ sauces available at each table. The meat is not drenched in sauce when it is served to you. You can add sauce to your liking. The meat was very juicy in all cases. Chicken wings served with a side of blue cheese sauce were some of the best we have had anywhere. This is a casual place with very nice service. They also offer take-out. Go hungry. My 16 yr old son who never seems to stop eating---brought home 1/2 of his full rack of baby back ribs! Check this place out---you will not be disappointed.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: karenreviews

                      Were the wings breaded or not--and, if breaded, how much breading? How about heat?

                    2. We went there last night and the food was very good, we had the sampler platter and we did not put a dent in it. The corn bread was the best I have ever eaten, the cornbread in Tennessee was much dried than Jed's. I do agree about the smoke ring but I had plenty of smoked flavor, in all the meats. We will go back for sure the service as great as well.

                      1. I’m on the north shore and wanted to try someplace difference than our usually places. I stumbled upon Tennessee Jed’s here on exploreLI.com and figured, it’s right off the Wantagh Parkway, barely a 30 minute drive – why not?

                        So glad I did! You walk in and this wave of smokiness hits you. It’s not a big place, and it’s not fancy. This is a very clean, very homey, local and delicious rib place that I recommend highly.

                        The Tornado Tots were amazing. Too filling for only two people, but if you’re four or more, go for it! The grilled veggies, the macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach, and the cole slaw were really good. The baked beans, not so much (not at all actually).

                        The baby back ribs were amazing. Really good. Like Mmmmmmm good. Like, I’m so full I may not be able to stand… but I’ll take just one more bite, good. They are genuinely “fall off the bone” and the portions are big. After the Tornado Tots, a half rack was plenty for me.

                        Kid friendly!!! Our kids were the only ones there, but it’s great for kids.

                        Finally, last but certainly not least, the service was great. Our waitress, young but professional, was super friendly and never disappeared on us. She was attentive, fast, overall very good.

                        So what’s the negative to Tennessee Jed’s? No negatives from me. We were six people – four adults, two kids – and we all left very full and very happy. We’ll be back.

                        1. We ate there on Friday March 12, 2010 and was extremely pleased with the food and staff. The place was not crowded, but they did have a steady flow taking out. We had BBQ chicken and pulled pork. Both were great. The cook happened to be the owner and he was accommodating and friendly. The waitress was great. She not only brought us exactly what we ordered but was available to bring us additional drinks and to make sure we had what we needed. Food quality was great as well as the service.